Chronicles of a Revolution III
January 31st Morning
This morning I woke up feeling really down. I’m beginning to feel like we might lose the battle, and all this would have been for nothing. I can’t bear the thought. A friend of mine just called me sobbing with rage because some of the citizen videos from Friday the 28th are finally beginning to reach the media and YouTube. Al-Jazeera has been broadcasting some of the videos they’ve received, but since it’s been blocked on NileSat only people with HotBird can see it (which I don’t have). One video shows an armoured car literally tearing through crowds of people, running over whoever is in their way.
Another shows them using water cannons on people while they’re praying.
Others show them shooting men in cold blood. This is after they vehemently denied using live ammunition.
Food is starting to run out so I went out to try and find some bread. I ended up standing in line for 45 minutes just to get 5 loaves of bread. There were lines in front of all the bakeries, and the supermarkets were either completely packed with people or closed because they’d run out of merchandise. It was a sad and worrying scene. But at least the lines were organized for a change, with one line for women and another for men, and people were waiting patiently and politely.
One man in line was telling us about a relative of his who is sick but they need 3000 pounds to get him into the hospital, and of course the banks are closed so there’s no cash. As he recounted this my mind inevitably wandered to the possibility of my mom having another stroke or something, but I quickly chased the bad thoughts away.
I kept trying to foresee an end to this situation but could only see that Mubarak is stalling and if that’s his strategy, it might work, because people can’t handle this standstill for much longer. By the time I made my way back home I was fighting back tears.
Somehow, I’m in a very good mood right now and once again I’m hopeful. We are so going to win this thing! Mubarak is going down! And not only are we going to bring him down, we’re going to bring all his cronies down as well as the parasites that have been feeding off of the Egyptian people for decades.
My father went down to the street a couple of hours ago to start the evening shift. They’re all sitting around drinking tea and talking politics, some are playing soccer, they seem to be enjoying themselves. It’s quite amusing to watch actually. A lot of them have this look of pride on their faces when they walk around carrying bats and knives, risking their own safety to protect their loved ones.
February 1st 16:32
Today they’ve called for a million man march towards the presidential palace. So far there are over a million people gathered in Tahrir square and the head of the military has declared that he will not use force against anybody. But so far they’re just standing in the square, they have not been marching. I think maybe it’s too early for people to be calling for a march to the presidential palace. Anyway, word is that Mubarak is going to make a speech today. Will he step down? Am I being ridiculously naive by even considering the possibility he might go down this easily?
February 1st 1am
Mubarak’s speech was absolutely ludicrous. Political reforms? That’s what he’s giving us after 30 years of oppression? How many times have we heard him promise that? After everything that happened during the past few days? So let me get this straight, someone kidnaps you, tortures you, rapes you, steals your money, and then murders your children, and you’re supposed to accept it when he says “I’ll be a better person, I promise”? If Mubarak thinks this is going to end with anything other than him stepping down then he’s more delusional than I thought. In fact, he better start praying that we don’t put him and his thugs on trial.
One of the NDP goons Ibrahim Kamel just called into a talk show and declared that he would stage a pro-Mubarak protest tomorrow. He was irate and kept making threats to the pro-democracy protesters. He kept saying things like “we’ll show you”. I really hope the two groups don’t clash.
Today was one of the most bizarre and surreal days in Egyptian history. The so-called “pro-Mubarak protesters” turned out to be gangs of hired thugs. The day started off quite calm, the army had increased security by barricading Tahrir and searching everyone before entering. Suddenly, they lifted the barricades and stopped searching people. Nobody could understand why they suddenly lifted the barricades with no explanation. Next thing, people start arriving on buses, armed with clubs and machetes, and lots of stones. They immediately charged at the peaceful protesters, men women and children, and started throwing stones at them! I thought that was bad, but then a while later, another gang charged in on horses and camels! One of the most surreal scenes I have ever seen in my life. I swear if this was a film I would have thought it was silly.
February 2nd 3am
I can’t take my eyes of the TV. The Mubarak thugs are still throwing stones at the peaceful protesters. There’s been a huge need for blood donations and medical supplies. Tahrir square is unrecognizable. I can’t believe my eyes. It looks like a war-zone.
Although I’m not a fan of Christiane Amanpout’s coverage of the revolution as I felt she was making herself part of the story, which journalists shouldn’t do, this clip gives a good account of what happened on that day.
Today I headed over to Resala, a well-known NGO in Egypt. There was a huge crowd of people waiting to donate blood, I was turned away because they were so overwhelemed they couldn’t accept anymore applications. I pushed my way through so I could ask one of the workers there what they need, since they wouldn’t take anymore blood. She told me to purchase whatever medical supplies I could find and bring them back.
All day today journalists have been harassed, detained, beaten, and robbed of their equipment. Now all live feeds have stopped It sounds like they’re preparing for a massacre tomorrow.
Things have started to calm down. While it’s comforting to see the violence lessening, it’s discomforting to see that the numbers in Tahrir are decreasing and it seems that things are reaching a standstill. After the internet was restored a battle started waging on facebook between people who were feeling sorry for Mubarak after his speech when he talked about serving the country for thirty years and that he will die on the soil of Egypt. Some people saw that he deserved a dignified departure and that we should allow him the next few months until his term ends. I’m worried that public opinion will turn against the revolution. I just read an article explaining that all revolutions are characterized by violent swings in public opinion, so that did make me feel a bit better. Although thanks to the regime’s stupidity, many people who had initially felt sorry for Mubarak changed their minds after the camel & horses incident. But many people are still calling for the people in Tahrir to go home. Many people have described Egyptians as being an emotional people, and this is a prime example. Something has to happen. Something equally as emotional as Mubarak’s speech to get public opinion on our side again.
It’s happened. The emotional event that would bring public opinion back to support the revolution, has just taken place. For days we’ve been calling for the release of Wael ghoneim, the first voice to call for protests on the 25th. After disappearing for 12 days with nobody knowing anything about his whereabouts, today he was finally released. And what happened next was probably the worst thing for the regime, at the worst possible time. What happened is this interview (part 1):
This is exactly what we needed to energize the revolution once again. Tomorrow I’m sure we’ll see a resurgence in the revolution.
This is when I stopped writing as I became consumed in other activities I felt were more beneficial to the revolution at the time. What happened next is that Mubarak and his dying regime made a few more attempts at survival through scare tactics and threats, and more ridiculous speeches. But the revolution continued against all odds. Then on February 11th, the moment finally came. Then Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement that Mubarak was stepping down (see our previous post showing the clip). This may be the most exciting moment of my life. One I will never forget.
The revolution is still continuing to this day, for Mubarak’s resignation was only the first of a long list of demands. Next on the list is to get the Prime Minister to resign and for the army to appoint one chosen by the people. After continuing the protest every Friday, this finally happened two days ago after a heated TV interview in which the PM lost his temper and showed his true colours. Now a battle is waging against the hates State Security forces as they have been caught trying to burn and shred incriminating documents. After kidnapping, torturing, raping and murdering us for decades, they will be the next to go, insha’Allah.
For a complete timeline of the revolution until Mubarak’s resignation you can check Wikipedia’s Timeline of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, or you can watch Al-Jazeera English’s excellent documentary on the revolution.
For ongoing coverage of the latest updates, you can follow our twitterfeed on the right-hand side of this page.